Hakama finally fixed..

24 04 2013

..and then ready to leave!

During the practice holidays in Scandinavia my hakama broke apart, opening (as usual) on the back “plate” side (koshi) and not having anymore Aiki-mama Jacqueline to fix it for me with her magic sewing skills I asked the only colleague that understands some basic English to help me to get someone fixing it. It is quite common to see on the street some old ladies with a tiny stand a nd a sewing machine on doing basic jobs (I mean, basic for them!).

So we went to one, but since I needed the thread to go through the gummy plate, the lady sent us to a shoe repairing shop just close by (if my colleague was not there I would have been stuck already!). There, with a hand propelled sewing machine for hard jobs the lady made me a double seam in the back plate! 10RMB well spent (and I think it was expensive since I am a foreigner, but how to complain!)

fixing my hakama

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY - Of course, laowai at a local street shop is always source of much attention in China (as anything different from the day by day boring ordinary life). So when I was squatting at the shoe repair shop and helping to move the hakama without taking it completely out of the bag (for not make it dirty, but not only.. it would have been impossible to explain what it was, especially trying to avoid totalk too much about Japan in these days that the island related problems are coming out again!). Anyway, I snatched a picture 1 second after I left the shop and normally htere are not so many children or people around it!! I left, the show was over.. and they were leaving as well :-)

show is over!





Happy Mid-Autumn festival 2012

1 10 2012

中秋节快乐!!
Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè! !

Happy Mid-Autumn festival 2012!
This year I spent the mid-autumn festival (中秋节, Zhōngqiū Jié) in Italy, but I had taken with me some of the most traditional moon cakes (read bean and egg), good to combine to some Italian pastries (bignole).

Last taste of italian dessert before leaving tomorrow to Lyon for more Aikido days!





Chinese lover’s day

23 08 2012

Today it is the equivalent of S.Valentine. It falls on 7th day of the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar and it is called Qixi Festival (七夕节).

As anything else from tradition, also this one has its own lover story related to it that sets the reason for celebrations, a story of gods and mortals, of love and of course problems..

And yesterday night we saw this guy preparing himself well for receive some extra credit and.. sugar by some lucky (and extremely childish) girl.. a typical Chinese girl in other words!!!

Chinese lover's day





Freaks of nature

9 08 2012

First weekend of practice after a really long time of Aikido inactivity. Monday I felt quite sore especially in lower back and legs, typical when one does not take ukemi often enough! I admit I had lost a bit the tatami feeling: even if I got some at home, one thing is sitting on them, another is being thrown.. and my neighbour living below me would not appreciate too much ukemi over their heads!

My biggest worry was my right ankle: for once I decided to avoid using pain killers (natural or less) even with 3 session practice on Saturday and one more intense on Sunday. Of course I used elastic bandage on the ankle for every session. Tighten up effectively. The result is that I do have some pain in the ankle (not surprised), but the left one is a little painful as well!!! And I did not twist it or anything!! But I did not use any bandage there. Maybe the seiza sitting and few suwariwaza exercises were enough to afflict my joints.

I don’t think there is the typical explanation like: I don’t want to put my full weight on the right foot so I overstress the left. During practice, the last thing I think is my ankles (I know, not very smart maybe, but I used to be an Aikido freak as well..). So I think I do use them both in the same way, unless I feel pain, thing that did not happen!

Anyway Monday both ankles were sore and both were a little swollen: the swelling is what worries me the most, bringing up bad memories! I used to not be too upset by some ankle swelling, since it has been a constant companion of summer (and winter, and autumn, and spring) evenings after one day playing basketball!! After last summer RA diagnosis and painful experience I take the swelling more seriously. So that I tried to not walk too much during the day, not work standing and in the evening I used a lot of Yunnan Baiyao spray on the swelling.

Tuesday, for my surprise, I woke up with 2 “normal looking” ankles. The normal for me is anyway a weird sight for people that never had problems there. But no swelling, no soreness, actually no pain anywhere (legs and lower back also fully recovered). Maybe my physical condition was not that bad? Probably it only means the practice was softer than I thought.. next week will be the proper reference! To not over stress my luck I decided to go to bath & sauna in the evening: first I noticed that anyway during the day at the office the swelling in the ankles increased (still no pain and no special distressed feeling, but the feet were just bigger). For once the sauna was really good and hot.. and for once I did not even manage to sit my 45 minutes without a break! But my body felt so good afterwards. Also I do a sort of exercise I read as suggested for joints: walk in a hot water pool for a couple of minutes, then do the same in a cold water pool. Repeat the sequence a few times, finishing with the hot water one.

Wednesday and after I stop thinking too much about my ankles, keep though an eye open for the swelling!

But a new weekend gets closer!

Nature decided to be clement with me after the first August effort. Instead of punish harder the lack of physical practice during July, it let my body recover fast and almost without pain. Was it just a joke? Is nature playing with me like a cat with a poor mouse? The answer will be probably next Monday.. or the one after or.. the first Monday of September..

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – Since the spray Yunnan Baiyao was almost finished I resolved to buy more. But the little pharmacy I went had nothing, except Yunnan Baiyao pills! First time seeing them, so I took them. As usual the application explanation (one of the very few that has it in English) is extremely funny: magic pills, good really for about anything you can think of! Understandable, but equally interesting expressed precaution: “pregnancy is contradicted“.

yunnan baiyao magic pills!





Dragon Boat festival holidays

22 06 2012

3 days holidays for the Dragon Boat festival, 端午節 (Duānwǔ jié), but the funny part is that this in truth means (when compared to the rest of the world), 1 day free from work, today! Then it comes the weekend, usually off in a 5-working days week (as for my and most of the people I know in China as well). But of course overtime and weekend at works are in general a normality over here (I got already one scheduled for July for a system installation and tuning).

Tradition during these days is eating 粽子, Zòngzi, sticky rice stuffed with different stuff and wrapped in bamboo leaves. The funny thing is that the very first time I got one of those (in Norway) I tried to bite all, leaves included!! And that had been very funny to my Chinese friends! For me as well, on a second thought!

No plans for my holidays..

Actually until 7pm yesterday night I would have been supposed to work (yeah, overtime during holidays.. Welcome to China!) but then yesterday overtime did not lead to any good results and we lost the reasons to work these days.. But no plan had been made.. so I am in Hefei..

The weather is good, actually great: sunny but there is a nice breeze, especially when sitting here at the 13th floor writing this. I plan to write a bit more on the blog and update some pics. Or just get out and enjoy weather and free time.. which one?? ;-)

Happy Dragon Boat festival everyone!





Full working week

26 03 2012

Today it starts a 7 days working week coming just before the “3 days holidays” for Qing Ming festival, 清明节 (Qīngmíng Jié). The festival is known as Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day and it will fall on the 4th of April. Common in China to link together 2 more days for an extended holiday, in order to allow people to travel large distances and reach home for the celebrations..

..And for balance, 2 extra working days are added at the week before.. making it a 7 days working in a row.. that it does not sound so much as a balanced week!!!

It would be so much better having 2 Saturdays at work, in the week before and after, but for many over here Saturday it is already a working day (or the companies expect that much), so that adding Sunday as well is.. normal, not weird at all!

I am used to this now.. being also officially the last week of my second year in China!!!!

Back to Qing Ming, my Chinese friends were suprrised to know that we have something more or less equivalent in Catholic religion: the 2nd of November, All Souls Day, or “Tutti i santi”, as called in Italian!

My holidays will be not far: I’ll just go to Shanghai and get 3 days of practice Aikido!!! Not such a smart way in general to use holidays in an unknown country, but the only way I feel like using it, given the chance!!

Aikido withdrawal, been there before, yes.. :-)





Awakening of the dragon

23 02 2012

Second day of the second month according to the lunar calendar, and today it is the day of the awakening of the dragon (yes, insect, a big hungry fire-blowing one.. still insect for Chinese!):

Second day of the Tibetan new year celebration as well, and I saw on TV that more than 2thousand people celebrated with a traditional dance (called “Happy Losar”).. a mix of performers and normal people joining in one of the largest squares of Lhasa.

The spirit of the dance is holding hands and form some concentric circles.. a good hope for all people that should become able to live in peace among each other..

And today (no better day) I want to feature the blog of a fellow Aikidoka and blogger:

The First Dragon Rider








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